Zenith recently announced a new version of their 45 mm skeletonized El Primero Chronograph, similar to the version we showed you earlier this year, and the carbon fiber model that was launched in 2013 – except now the El Primero is presented in black ceramic case and with additional material cut-away. In particular, the subdials have been redesigned with just rings, allowing a view straight through to the movement. And, the sundial hands have been changed from baton style to syringe hands.

The 5Hz automatic caliber 400B still powers the watch, offering a 50-hour power reserve and 1/10th of a second chronograph accuracy.

With skeleton watches designers can easily get carried away, resulting in a watch that has so much of the component material removed it becomes gaudy. In this case, I think Zenith has done an excellent job with the overall design.

And I especially like that they left that exposed date wheel disc, which surrounds the dial on the inside of the chapter ring, with cut-outs for each day of the month including a red date indication at 6 o’clock.

The matte ceramic case is 14.05 mm in thickness with a domed sapphire crystal and 50 meters water resistance. The chapter ring is screwed to the movement and has hour indexes that are ruthenium-plated, faceted, and coated with luminous material. Each watch comes with a black rubber strap with carbon fiber coating and a black PVD-coated titanium triple folding clasp. The retail price is $10,600. (Ref. 49.2520.400/98.R578)

Jason Pitsch
Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason Pitsch is the founder and editor of Professional Watches. He appreciates good design and engineering in everything from architecture to automobiles to cameras to clothing. Yet his focus for the past decade has remained consistent on covering just one type of craftsmanship: watchmaking.